We have a soft spot for chickens: they’re feathery and friendly, curious and even cuddly. And did you know they experience REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, associated with dreaming? But nearly 9 billion birds in this country are not living a dream. They’re suffering on overcrowded, unsanitary factory farms, bred to grow in such rapid, unnatural ways that they often collapse and spend much of their lives lying in their own waste.
At the ASPCA, we’re fighting to change this—but we need your help.
The chicken-meat industry calls September National Chicken Month, so it’s the perfect time to use your voice and take a stand for more humanely raised, healthier chickens:
1. Check out our new video, “The Professor,” to learn what’s gone wrong in chicken farming and what can be done about it:
3. Spread the word. Let your friends and family know that September is National Chicken Month and there’s a lot they can do to help! Join us on Friday, September 12 at 3:00 P.M. (Eastern time) for a special Twitter chat using the hashtag #ChickenMonth. And be sure to spread the word on your social channels using the sample post below!
Chickens suffer on factory farms and they deserve better! Join @ASPCA and take action: truthaboutchicken.org #ChickenMonth
Thirty days and three powerful ways to help billions of animals. Cluck yeah!
In a huge step forward for our nation’s companion animals, U.S. Representatives Katherine Clark (D-MA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) have come together to introduce the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act (H.R. 5267), landmark legislation extending existing federal protections to pets of domestic violence victims.
The connection between animal cruelty and domestic violence is a well-documented one and, sadly, many pets are often used as pawns in domestic disputes. Seventy-one percent of women entering domestic violence shelters have reported that their abusers also harmed, threatened, and in severe cases, killed their pets. What’s more, as many as half of those victims delay seeking help and remain in these dangerous environments because they fear for the safety of the pets they are forced to leave behind.
If passed, the Act would prohibit abusers from crossing state lines to harm a domestic partner’s pets, making it a punishable offense under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). It also adds veterinary care to the list of restitution costs recoverable by victims, authorizes federal grant funding to provide assistance and housing to victims’ pets in need of emergency shelter and recommends states extend legal protections to include pets in court-issued protective orders in domestic dispute cases.
While twenty-seven states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, have passed laws allowing pets to be included in protective orders, no such legislation currently exists at the federal level, making the PAWS Act the first of its kind to explicitly address this need.
By ensuring strong protections and valuable resources at the federal level, the PAWS Act gives victims the security they need to get help and protects their beloved pets from the hands of abusers. We are so thankful to Reps. Clark and Ros-Lehtinen for their strong leadership in taking this important step in the fight against animal cruelty and domestic violence.
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Guest blog by Daisy Freund, Senior Manager of the ASPCA’s Farm Animal Welfare Campaign
A constitutional amendment guaranteeing the “right to farm” was passed in Missouri last week by the narrowest of margins. Amendment 1 squeaked by with a 0.2% lead; a mere 2,528 votes out of almost one million cast. While the amendment may have seemed harmless to many voters, those who opposed it, including the ASPCA, worry that it could shield a disturbingly broad range of agricultural industries and practices. Those benefiting from the amendment include factory farms and the state’s notorious puppy mill industry, considered by some to be a form of agriculture. It was incredibly heartening to see so many Missouri voters reject this deceptive measure in the face of such powerful and well-funded proponents of Amendment 1.The coalition formed in opposition– farmers, advocacy groups, businesses – is impressive and will continue to grow.
Many Missouri family farmers were wary of this amendment, for good reason. One farmer in Boone County explained why her commitment to running a sustainable, welfare-minded farm was also her reason for opposing a “right to farm.” In many cases, her farming methods conflict with nearby industrial farms’ practices, such as when her neighbors recently sprayed chemicals that drifted onto her chemical-free fields. In her words, “the rights of all farmers cannot be simultaneously guaranteed.”
The ASPCA appreciates this country’s hardworking, responsible farmers who use more humane practices, but irresponsible farming impacts lives—both animal and human. As Americans become increasingly interested in where their food is coming from, they’re learning that industrial-scale farms often achieve “efficiency” and cheaper products at the expense of animal welfare, food safety, worker safety and the environment. Society is demanding better.
But Big Ag is busy inventing ways to skirt the rules, creating “ag-ceptions.” In an effort to avoid the scandals that stem from undercover investigations, states with big farming industries are introducing ag-gag legislation that aim to criminalize on-farm whistleblowing. The movement to block these bills has been very successful, thanks to a strong coalition of civil liberties, animal welfare, labor, farming and environmental protection groups who believe in more transparency in the food system—not less. Just four states have passed ag-gag laws in the last three years, despite nearly half of all states introducing bills.
It’s exciting that Americans are demanding accountability on issues like animal welfare and food safety, but disappointing that much of the food industry stubbornly refuses to listen. “Right to farm” laws are another attempt to discourage scrutiny, but we deserve to take a close look at the agricultural industry when their decisions directly impact consumer safety, animal welfare, and our environment. The ASPCA will continue to stand up for animals—in Missouri and across the country—because there are no ag-ceptions to the rule that animals should live free from abuse and suffering.
Last week, lawmakers in Nassau County, New York—the western portion of Long Island—passed an ordinance to regulate the county’s pet stores and breeders beyond what state law requires. While we’re always glad to see local governments taking the time to address the issue of puppy mill cruelty, the new Nassau ordinance is similar to the one passed recently in neighboring Suffolk County in that it doesn’t do nearly enough to protect animals and consumers. Because the county is defaulting to the USDA’s notoriously lax (and poorly enforced) care standards instead of creating tougher ones, the 11 local pet stores that sell pups will almost certainly still be able to source them from puppy mills.
We’re also disappointed that Nassau County legislators were unwilling to work with animal welfare groups and other experts on this subject. They ignored recommendations from local advocates and sped the bill to passage without giving the public time to weigh in and push for a tougher law.
By contrast, Albany County’s strong Local Law C prohibits pet sellers from selling puppies unless those puppies come from breeders who far exceed USDA standards. That bill passed the county legislature with overwhelming public support and high praise from local, statewide and national animal welfare organizations and is awaiting the signature of Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy.
We hope that other local governments utilizing New York’s recently passed state law allowing them to regulate pet dealers will look more toward the Albany model rather than to the bills passed on Long Island—and we hope that they will give their citizens ample opportunity to comment. New York animal advocates, please let your local officials know that the ASPCA is standing by to help towns and counties craft the strongest laws possible to stop puppy mill abuse and better-protect consumers!
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Kudos to Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of one of the most popular show on daytime television, for exposing his audience to the truth about modern chicken farming! On Tuesday’s episode of Dr. Oz, titled “Inside the Chicken Industry: Is Something Foul?”, Christopher Leonard, an investigative reporter and author of The Meat Racket, discussed his disturbing research into how chicken is produced in this country.
As Leonard explained, with 95% of Americans eating chicken regularly, the demand for the meat is high and the industry has found a way to grow chickens “twice as fast, on half as much feed.” Leonard recalled his first visit to an industrial chicken facility, a “giant warehouse with 75,000 birds on the ground, the air thick with ammonia.”
The ASPCA recently launched our Truth About Chicken campaign to improve the welfare of chickens raised for meat. To learn more and urge the industry to adopt slower-growing chickens raised in better conditions, visit TruthAboutChicken.org.
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